On April 14, 2013, at approximately 5:50 a.m. an officer from DeFuniak Springs Police observed a vehicle failing to maintain a single lane of travel, as they were both traveling north on State Road 83 (North 9th Street).
At this point the officer activates the in car camera and waits on a safe location to perform a traffic stop. As they approached the Tom Thumb Store located on the corner of State Road 83 and Walton Road the officer activates the emergency lights. The vehicle traveled to the left as if to make a left turn onto Walton Road, however failed to do so and continued north on State Road 83.
The vehicle traveled a short distance past the Tom Thumb Store before yielding and pulling to the shoulder of the roadway. The officer exited the patrol unit to make contact with the driver. The vehicle accelerated fleeing north bound on State Road 83.
The officer pursued a short distance and notified the Walton County Sheriff’s Office of the direction of travel. Due to observing the vehicles pass another motorist on a hill in a no passing zone, and the inclement weather, the officer disengaged from the pursuit.
After disengaging from the pursuit the officer continued to travel north until losing sight of the vehicle. As the officer topped a hill in search of a safe place to turn around the fleeing vehicle was observed once again by the officer from a distance appearing to make a left turn onto Juniper Lake Road.
The officer traveled to this location to find that the vehicle failed to negotiate the turn crashing into the woods. The officer immediately called for assistance. The DeFuniak Springs Fire Department, Argyle Fire Department, Walton County Fire Department and Walton County Fire and Rescue arrived quickly and were able to extricate the driver from the vehicle.
The undisclosed driver was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida and is listed in critical condition. The Florida Highway Patrol was called to investigate the crash. Charges on the driver are pending further investigation by the DeFuniak Springs Police.
Lieutenant Tilman Mears